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An Introduction to Competitive Programming

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It is a mind sport that is usually held over the web or a local network, involving participants trying to program according to provided specifications within the given timeframe.

It’s also known as sport programming and the contestants are also called sport programmers. It is highly supported by lots of multinational companies, such as Google and Facebook. There are several organizations that host programming competitions regularly.

Here are a few advantages of the sport

Enhances your personality –

Training in this competitive mental sport makes you more disciplined, faster, and focussed. In the competition, you have very little time and a lot of things to do. You are stressed and your competitors are constantly paving their ways to do better than you. At this moment, you have to make crucial decisions.

You have to train your mind to stay focused and make smarter decisions. The only way to do this is to simply practice. The practice is everything. It makes you better every day and you gain a lot of experience. You not only have to be interested in participating in a programming contest but also learn how to train yourself to be a better coder.

Enhance your strengths –

Competitive coding gives you a chance to assess your strengths and helps you focus on them in a more effective way. It helps you better them as you practice, and helps you to gain confidence in them. It gives you the self-confidence you need to be better

Makes you a better candidate for major companies –

Participating in coding competitions like International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), Google Code Jam, Facebook Hacker Cup, etc. gives you an edge over many applicants

For instance – Taking active participation in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM ICPC) is a great opportunity to be seen by Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, and many other authorities in the IT-sphere.

These major companies are constantly keeping track of these types of events and the participants to find talented employees.  Moreover, this competition is considered the most prestigious and includes elite young programmers. In the past few days, companies such as Apple, AT&T, and Microsoft have sponsored the contest.

Helps you understand complicated Situations –

During the competition, one must understand the problem and learn how to diffuse complicated problems in a short period. You must solve difficult tasks before anyone else.

While practicing or while in the competition one comes across a variety of difficult situations. In such cases, one must learn to simplify and process the problem and figure out the best possible solution

Enhances decision-making skills –

As you are in a fast-paced environment where every other participant is waiting on a chance to be better and faster than you, you have to decide what things require your particular attention and on what things you should focus more on. You have to decide which things are important and which ones are not.

It thus, helps you plan realistically and responsibly.

Teamwork and team spirit –

It helps you to learn how to effectively work together, as you must work with others on your team to complete the same task. You learn how to assess your team members’ strengths and weaknesses and effectively divide responsibilities between each other. You learn how to trust your colleagues and teammates with work and do your work responsibly

Most companies today are looking for people who believe in teamwork and can effectively do so. Participating in such competitions proves the company and the employer that you can responsibly work in a team without creating a ruckus.

It’s a way to publicly demonstrate your skills.

The communities of Competitive programming have a set of leaderboards that list the competitor’s performance in the contests. A good ranking even demonstrates that you can solve the problems under pressure, and it even shows where you stack up compared to your peers.

You don’t have to be at the top of the leaderboards or even in the top 1000 for your ranking to be beneficial. Most developers don’t have any kind of public record other than their resume, which often contains that are hard to verify because they involve some of the non-public work.

A competitive programming score, without the need to stand in front of a whiteboard while an interview looks over your shoulder. Don’t link the idea of the public profile? Imagine that you are in the market for a new programming job.

If a hiring manager sees a link on your resume to a profile which shows steadily increasing programming contest performance, they will be a lot more likely to schedule a technical phone screen or bring you in for an interview, that they will be a lot more likely to schedule a technical phone screen or bring you in for an interview, as you have already proven that you can do great.

Conclusion

Competitive Programming truly requires a lot of patience so don’t get disheartened or don’t lose hope if you get wrong answers. This is the point where programming loses most people’s interest. If a voice within your head says that your approach is right, continue trying for a day, week, and months.

If you can’t then Google it for a solution, ask for help if you don’t get the subject, read the different approaches that coders have taken to solve the problem, but never give up.

Also, only if you are absolutely sure that you have made a lot of effort and now you can’t do anything then you can read the solution. But make sure to re-code the same problem. Bit by bit, you can only continue to progress but only if you maintain the discipline and do not quit.

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